It's never too late for Stats 101

March 26, 2009 in Math,Quotes

Google's Chief Economist, Hal Varian, on jobs in the upcoming decade (emphasis mine):

I keep saying the sexy job in the next ten years will be statisticians. People think I’m joking, but who would’ve guessed that computer engineers would’ve been the sexy job of the 1990s? The ability to take data—to be able to understand it, to process it, to extract value from it, to visualize it, to communicate it—that’s going to be a hugely important skill in the next decades, not only at the professional level but even at the educational level for elementary school kids, for high school kids, for college kids. Because now we really do have essentially free and ubiquitous data. So the complimentary scarce factor is the ability to understand that data and extract value from it.

I think statisticians are part of it, but it’s just a part. You also want to be able to visualize the data, communicate the data, and utilize it effectively. But I do think those skills—of being able to access, understand, and communicate the insights you get from data analysis—are going to be extremely important. Managers need to be able to access and understand the data themselves.

From the January 2009 McKinsey Quarterly.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Harry April 17, 2009 at 7:19 pm

So…where do you start learning stats if instead of getting a stats master at harvard you were goofing off in a brick building on mt auburn?

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Patrick Burns October 28, 2010 at 11:38 am

You can learn statistics while continuing to goof off. Three easy steps:
1) find an interesting question
2) find some data that applies to that question
3) try and answer the question with the data

The web is, of course, your friend in all of this. One place to start would be R-bloggers where you’ll find a great mix of questions and solutions hovering around the R language (which is free, and the lingua franca of statistics).

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